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Jan 24 11

Blinking lights and bumble boards

by kevin

One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is putting RGB leds under proper monome keypads. Projects like the Tinct Project do a nice job of proof-of-concept style design, but the SparkFun buttons they use are pretty huge, and they have a slightly different feel than the proper monome buttons.

So I found some 1210 RGB leds on Mouser and they fit nicely under the buttons, but tehn@monome mentioned they might not be bright enough to be useful. So, I designed an Arduino shield to test them out.

The camera doesn’t do the best job showing the colors tone, but rest assured, they look quite nice. So nice that it’s actually tempting to turn my grayscale 128 into an rgb 128. I’m not yet sure if I’ll go to that extreme, but it’s a serious consideration at this point.

I also received the Bumble-B prototype PCBs from the fine folks of Dorkbot PDX this weekend. I’ve yet to populate any of them, but that project is coming along nicely, albeit a bit slowly. Here are some pics of the board!

Dec 5 10

Bumble-B prototyping

by kevin

This is still very much a work in progress, but the idea is fairly solidified: combining AsyncLabs’ Yellow Jacket with LeafLabs’ Maple, and throwing in a microSD card slot for good measure.  The result is an incredibly powerful wireless platform in a familiar package.  It plays nice with existing Arduino shields, and the microSD and WiFi are driven from dedicated pins, meaning you still have full use of the 14 digital and 6 analog inputs.

preliminary bumble-b screen shot

Above is a screenshot of the layout.  It’s the same size as a standard Arduino, with the exception of the wireless chip jutting out from the rear.  Though this board and the Maple both use STM32 chips, this one relies on features present only in the High Density line of the chip, namely the SDIO hardware (the Maple uses the Medium Density line, but since they’re the same family, they’re electrically and pin compatible).  Added bonuses of the High Density line?  Audio: 12 bit DAC and two I2S modules.

If you would like to hack at this project in progress, source files are on github.

Nov 4 10

Audio interfaces development, and a survey

by kevin

Well, Halloween is over, and LA’s weather keeps pretending it’s still summer, so you know what that means, right?

Time to go to the beach start a new project!

The idea is pretty simple: a modular, open source, audio interface. But, while the concept is simple, the execution is going to be tough. There will be an open preliminary design meeting this Sunday, November 7, at 2pm at CRASH Space in Culver City. If you are interested in participating, please join us. If you’re not in LA, email kevin at soundcyst and I’ll see what I can do about either setting up Skype or a UStream.

In the meantime, we have a survey posted to find out what you like and what you don’t like about your current audio interface(s). The results of the survey will help us in assessing the needs of audio interface users at-large so we don’t get too short-sighted by our own needs.

Following Sunday’s meeting, a wiki of design details will pop up somewhere around here so you can see what’s happening (and if you feel like it, get involved).

Happy Thursday!

Oct 7 10

Welcome to the new!

by kevin

Well, I’ve finally gotten around to updating the look of things around here.  It’s still very much a work in progress.  In the next few weeks/months/years, I’ll be tweaking this WordPress theme to make it as soundcystian as possible.

You can check the About section to read a bit more about what we do and where we’re coming from, or you can just listen to some of our music while I scramble to post our technological discoveries and more art.

In the meantime, I’d like to offer you this historic gem that just surfaced on my computer.  It’s a live performance from the 2006 Fall Electronic Music Concert at UCSC with Max Foreman (of Tenebre) on piano and glockenspiel, and yours truly, Kevin Nelson (of The Sweaty Caps), on monome and electronics.  Here’s to four years of live resampling!